After struggling along with the limping economy for the last five years, restaurants are seeing signs of better days. According to Sageworks, a financial data and analysis firm, foodservice operators in 2010 eked out an average profit margin of 1.4 percent on sales growth of 0.9 percent. By August of this year, annual sales were up 8.7 percent, and restaurants were averaging 4.1 percent profit. Nice turnaround, sure, but clearly room for improvement remains. The two obvious routes to ...

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